Start with the right technology for remote team collaboration
The most important thing that any business needs to develop culture in a remote work team is the right communication. Keeping your people connected is crucial if you want them to bond and collaborate. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools available to help with remote team collaboration today. For instance:
- Collaboration tools support consistent communication in remote teams with access to things like video and audio conferencing, instant messaging, file sharing and more. With video, remote employees can even see the facial expressions and body language cues that make conversations more immersive.
- File sharing services like Dropbox ensure that your remote teams always have access to the latest versions of crucial documents and projects. People can continue to work on tasks wherever they are.
- Digital calendaring tools like Google Calendar and Project Management software like Trello ensure that your people can keep track of their work and set up meetings at times that suit everyone. This stops things like time zones from getting in the way of business-wide conversations and conferences.
The more you invest in the right tools, the easier it will be to ensure that everyone can take part in frequent planning, strategy development and brainstorming sessions that help people to bond.
Know the value of team-building activities and events
Creating culture in a dispersed team isn't just about encouraging remote team collaboration and making sure that work gets done. It's important to make sure that your people, wherever they are, feel as though they're part of a bigger family. Without daily water-cooler conversations to build rapport between your workers, relationships can begin to struggle.
With that in mind, it's essential to make sure that you deliver plenty of opportunities for your people to bond. For instance, open an instant messaging chat room where people can talk about things that have nothing to do with work. Bring people together for regular ice-breaker video conferencing sessions, with games like:
- Favourite things: Everyone in the group names their favourite things
- The birth map: Asking people to share information about where they were born.
- Tour guides: Requesting that one person from your team takes you on a tour of their home each week.
If possible, it can also be a good idea for companies managing remote teams to bring those people together for in-person meetings every once in a while. An annual meet-up can do amazing things for your employee engagement levels.
Find the right management style
Finally, one of the biggest challenges that team leaders face when managing remote teams is finding the right management style that suits the individuals. It's difficult to know how often you should check on your people, and how much trust you should give them to do things on their own.
The best thing you can do is make sure that your people always know where to find you if they need additional help. If you create a digital "open door" policy for your workers, they'll see that they're supported, without having to deal with you hanging over their shoulder.
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